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COACH EUGENE BAZZREA coached at Fairfield Junior High School and Highland Springs High School in four different decades. "Coach Bazz" is known as a great Phys Ed teacher and exceptional Coach for many of the Sports teams at "The Springs" and Fairfield, including Football, Baseball and Basketball. He is respected by those that know him, then as now, as a straight-shooter and All Around Good Guy.

Coach Bazz graciously gave an interview to The Springer Connection.

SC: Coach, where are you from originally and where did you go to high school?
Coach Bazz:
I attended Waynesboro (VA) High School, and graduated in 1952.

SC: What sports did you play?
Coach Bazz:
At Waynesboro High I played on the football, basketball, and baseball teams. Baseball was where I had my most success. As a junior in high school, I started playing in the Valley League (baseball), mainly as a pitcher, although I did play all 9 positions at one time or another.

SC: What came after you graduated from Waynesboro High?
Coach Bazz:
After high school I attended Fishburne Military School, and played 3 sports. My main sport was baseball.

SC: Where did you go to college?
Coach Bazz:
I went to Virginia Polytechnic Institute, which is now called Virginia Tech. I had a brief stint on the freshman basketball team. I was a member of the elite Marching Band. But college didn't work out at this time, and I joined the U.S.Air Force.

SC: The Air Force?
Coach Bazz:
In order to reap the benifits of the G.I. Bill. The Korean War was going on at the time. Lucky for me the worst was over in Korea. I served four years as an airborne radio and ECM operator. I also served 18 months in the Far East, on the island of Formosa (Taiwan).

SC: What did you do when you finished your hitch in the Military?
Coach Bazz:
Then came 2 years at Shenadoah Junior College, which is now a four-year college. At Shenandoah, I was part of the basketball and baseball teams. During my second year at Shenadoah, besides being a student I ALSO taught GIRLS P.E., which was quite an interesting situation.

SC: No wonder you love coaching.
Coach Bazz:
Next came Richmond Professional Institute, which, of course, is VCU now. At RPI I was part of the basketball and baseball teams. I was Captain of the baseball team my senior year at RPI.

SC: And after graduation from RPI?
Coach Bazz:
I continued to play some baseball in the Valley League and worked as a claims adjuster for The Travelers Insurance Company.

SC: When did you make the jump into teaching and coaching for a living?
Coach Bazz:
I got Married on Sunday, April 12 ,1964. My first day teaching at Fairfield Junior High was two days later -- April 14, 1964.

SC: So, she got you straightened out, huh, Coach?
Coach Bazz:
Thus began a whole new chapter in my life.

SC: Changing focus, Coach, what are the qualities that make a successful coach?
Coach Bazz:
A good Coach is a good teacher.

I think a good coach has to learn to be himself - not to be false, or pretend to be someone else.
You have to care about others and want to help them succeed. They can see right through you, and when they believe you are doing this to make them better, they will work to get better. As they work harder, if you work harder, you can have a great combination.

You must study the game and teach correctly, and not settle for just getting by. And you must treat them all the same, no matter what skill level they start at. Respect your players for their effort, and they will respect you.
Worry about getting better, and practice correctly, to play better. The score will take care of itself.

Learn to control what you have contol over. And have fun - it helps to be a kid again.
Let it be a journey of togetherness.

SC: The HSHS Cafeteria was famous for some of the food. What do you remember most?
Coach Bazz:
You could not escape that wonderful smell that led you to the cafeteria whenever fresh rolls came out of the oven. I would go into the kitchen and get a couple of hot buns, with butter, as they came out.(before lunch).

My wife made me lunch that made me the envy of all Coaches. I had to hide my lunch some days to protect it. But on Holidays I would eat in the cafeteria. I loved the turkey, or chicken, with mashed potatoes and gravy, ,green beans, and hot rolls. They always gave me extras.

The ladies of the kitchen were the greatest!

SC: Makes me hungry just thinking about it. Thanks for all the great years, Coach Bazzrea.
Coach Bazz:
Give everybody my best wishes.

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Bazzrea Facts:
Coach Eugene Bazzrea
  • Graduated from Waynesboro, Virginia, High School

  • Post Graduate at Fishburne Military School

  • Student at VPI (later became VA Tech)

  • Served 4 years in U.S. Air Force

  • Graduated Shenandoah Jr. College

  • B.S. Degree from Richmond Professional Institute (RPI became Virginia Commonwealth University in 1969)

  • Masters Degree in Secondary Education. from University of Virginia

  • Started coaching at Fairfield Junior High on April 14, 1964

  • Taught PE and Health at Fairfield Junior High and, later, at HSHS

  • Coached Baseball, Basketball and Football

  • Says, "Respect your players for their effort, and they will respect you".

  • Loved the rolls at the HSHS Cafeteria

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